Signs of Dysfunctional Families

May 28, 2019 | Family Issues, Blog

All families have moments where they don’t function very well. For most families, these moments are brief and are often the result of situational stressors. Other families, however, can get stuck in unhealthy patterns which can lead to severe dysfunction. Dysfunctional families can become filled with abuse, addiction, abandonment, and conflict. Listed below are some of the signs that you might be in a dysfunctional family.

You might be in a dysfunctional family if:

  • Arguing is your family’s favorite pastime.
  • Your family has difficulty having fun.
  • The jokes feel more like jabs. Humor is always at someone else’s expense.
  • There is constant pressure to resist change. Everyone has a role and they are supposed to stay in it.
  • There are lots of broken promises. No one follows through on what they say they will do.
  • Everyone hides their true feelings, except for their anger.
  • Kids are acting out instead of talking about their feelings.
  • Isolation and withdrawal replace communication.
  • Performance is more important than the person.
  • The “image” of the family is more important than the people within the family.
  • There are lots of secrets within the family.
  • Control battles are the norm.
  • Criticism is expected and praise is absent.
  • Punishment replaces dialogue and discussion.
  • There are lots of unclear, inconsistent, or rigid rules.
  • Everyone walks around on eggshells.
  • No one celebrates each other’s successes. Lots of jealousy instead.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse are central themes of the family.
  • Lying and denial are not only common but also expected.
  • Part of the family is allied against another part of the family. You must choose “which side you are on.”
  • Everyone hates being together.
  • There is no warmth in the family.
  • Your home feels emotionally unsafe.

Remember that healthy families nurture and encourage each other. They also communicate openly and honestly and are effective at resolving conflict. If your family is struggling with dysfunction, a family therapist can often help.

New Dimensions Can Help!

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit to learn more.